With so many activities and open spaces, Colorado Parks and Wildlife reminds outdoor enthusiasts that our wealth of outdoor activities also come with responsibilities.
Here are some rules and tips for safely enjoying our state this summer.
Boating Requirements and Safety:
- In Colorado, anyone operating a motorboat, including a personal watercraft or sailboat, must be at least 16 years old. However, youths 14 and 15 years of age can operate a motorboat, jet ski or sailboat if they successfully complete the state’s Boating Safety Course. The course is offered throughout the state and is open to adults as well as teens; though adults are not required to take the course, doing so may qualify owners for a discount on boat insurance.
- US Coast Guard-approved safety equipment is required on all boats. Though some activities such as water skiing require additional equipment, every boat must minimally have a personal flotation device for every person on board. Our Boating Regulations brochure details the specific requirements for all boating and PWC activities in Colorado.
- Never operate any watercraft while under the influence. Drinking and boating can be just as dangerous, if not more so, than drinking and driving. Not only will operators experience the negative effects on judgment, vision, balance, coordination and reaction times associated with alcohol consumption, but they may also be affected by “Boater’s Hypnosis.” Boater’s hypnosis, or boater’s fatigue, is caused by exposure to noise, vibration, sun, glare, wind and motion experienced on the water. In Colorado, a BUI can be punishable by a year in jail, a loss of boating privileges for 3 months, fines up to $1000 and 96 hours of community service.
- Boat owners must participate in mandatory state-certified boat inspections to help prevent the spread of zebra and quagga mussels and other aquatic nuisance species (ANS) in Colorado lakes and reservoirs. These invasive species are a serious threat to Colorado waters, negatively affecting the food chain and endangering key infrastructures. To help prevent the spread of zebra and quagga mussels, boaters should remember to follow these steps: Clean, Drain, Dry .